Six days after 1st rejection, Kejriwal govt resends LG proposal to reopen weekly markets and hotels in Delhi

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | | Edited by Abhinav Sahay
Aug 06, 2020 05:45 PM IST

The issue had led to a stand-off between Delhi government and LG’s office last week.

Delhi government led by Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal has sent a fresh proposal to lieutenant governor Anil Baijal recommending reopening of hotels, gyms and weekly markets, citing the decline in the number of Covid 19 cases in the national capital. The new proposal has been sent almost a week after the rejection of a similar proposal by the government bringing the differences between the government and the LG’s office into sharp focus.

The LG and the Delhi government have been at odds with each other on several issues including the response to the pandemic.(PTI Photo/Representative)
The LG and the Delhi government have been at odds with each other on several issues including the response to the pandemic.(PTI Photo/Representative)

Delhi has witnessed a steady decline in the number of active coronavirus cases and the sharp rise in new cases, which was a cause of worry back in June, has stabilized, easing the pressure on medical facilities and giving the government confidence to seek wider relaxations for further resumption of economic activities. However, the LG’s office has indicated that relaxations such as allowing local weekly markets and gymnasiums to operate may lead to a resurgence in the number of cases and has therefore spurned Kejriwal government’s insistence on that count.

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The issue has become the latest point of stand-off between the two power centres in the city-state that have often been at loggerheads over various issues.

Kejriwal’s deputy Manish Sisodia, had last Saturday, sought home minister Amit Shah’s intervention to force LG Anil Baijal’s hand to allow reopening of weekly markets and hotels citing a need to give economic activities in the capital another shot in the arm.

Also Read: Covid-hit private bus operators demand relief from Delhi government

In his letter to Shah, Sisodia had cited statistics to claim eight per cent of Delhi’s business and employment was suffering due to the coronavirus disease outbreak.

“Due to the closure of weekly markets, five lakh families are sitting at home. Now when they are hopeful that with control over coronavirus in Delhi they will get an opportunity to restart their business, binding them under the decision of closure is unfair to Delhi’s economic situation and hopes of lakhs of people,” Sisodia had written.

He had indicated that the Delhi government will resend the proposal to Baijal on Tuesday.

“If traders start their business, jobs will be generated, and that the condition of the economy will improve,” the deputy chief minister wrote in his letter.

Baijal had rejected the first proposal a day earlier on Friday describing capital’s Covid 19 situation as “fragile” and stating that the threat was still “far from over”.

Baijal’s office had claimed that CM Kejriwal had agreed with the LG’s assessment advocating adoption of “a cautious and conservative approach”.

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The AAP government has been looking to give further impetus to economic activities in the Unlock 3 phase and has accused LG’s office and the Centre of adopting two yardsticks for Delhi and the rest of the country.

A Union home ministry notification has allowed opening of gymnasiums in Unlock-3 while sustaining the restrictions on mass activities including social, political and religious functions. It has also not allowed metro rail services, swimming pools, cinema halls, entertainment parks among other activities that lend itself to mass participation.

The Kejriwal government is also pushing for resumption of metro rail services in its bid to revive the Capital’s economy and complete pending projects.

On Wednesday, Delhi recorded 1,076 fresh coronavirus cases and 11 deaths in the 24 hours period, taking the total number of active cases to 10,072. Delhi had reported less than 1,000 new cases for three consecutive days on July 2 (961), July 3 (805) and July 4 (674).

The Kejriwal government has instructed officials to take steps to bring deaths to zero in the city.

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